Boko Haram And Chibok : The Emerging And Uncomfortable Facts
By Femi Fani Kayode
Now that the operational leadership and visible face of Boko Haram, in the person of the filth called Mr. Ibrahim Shekau, has finally admitted that they were responsible for the abduction of hundreds of our school girls and that they intend to ”sell them in the market”, it is pertinent and necessary for us to consider some of the emerging facts.
This will enable us to understand the nature of who and what we are dealing with and allow us to consider what the appropiate response ought to be if we really want to solve the problem
Let us consider the following. The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has told us that 90 per cent of the girls that were abducted at Chibok were christians. The President himself alluded to this yesterday during his media chat when he said that ”the majority” of girls that were abducted were christians. It has also been brought to my attention that the majority of the girls that either ”escaped” or were released by their abductors were muslims.
It has also been brought to my attention that the Governor of Borno state refused to accept the counsel and abide by the directives of WAEC that the exams should not take place in Chibok due to the precarious security situation and instead he insisted that the exams should take place there and that he would guarantee the security of the children.
It has also been brought to my attention, based on the testimony of one of the girls that ”escaped” that the girls that have been kidnapped are being raped up to 15 times a day by their captors and that those amongst them that have refused to convert to islam are having their throats cut.
It has also been brought to my attention that two of the ladies that met with the First Lady yesterday and that held themselves out as representatives of the families of the abducted children did not in fact have any link with the children or their families at all and hence they were arrested for impersonation. It has also been brought to my attention that the soldiers that were guarding the school in Chibok were redeployed at the last minute just before Boko Haram launched their attack and abducted the children.
These facts are all relevant and the picture of what really happened at Chibok and what is really going on now is getting clearer by the day. Ordinarily whether the children are christians or muslims really should not matter because, regardless of their faith, we want them all back and we must fight for them all.
However the fact that 90 per cent of them are christian adds a sinister and frightening dimension to the whole horrific episode and it is glaring evidence of the fact that christian girls are now being targetted by the islamists and that those girls are being forcefully converted to islam and being turned into sex slaves. Let me put it on record that I am of the view that it was a mistake for the police to arrest the two ladies that were part of the delegation that went to see the First Lady despite the reasons adduced for doing so. This single action has left the Federal Government and the Presidency itself open to a lot of criticism and accusations of insensitivity and high-handedness.
This is especially so given the fact the fact that the two ladies are both very prominent members of the groups that have been agitating for the release of the girls. Those that ordered those arrests are making things far worse for the President and it is increasingly clear to me that our Government is fast losing the little goodwill it may have left with the Nigerian people.
I am one of those that believes that the Federal Government has failed woefully in their primary duty to protect the Nigerian people and I have enunciated that position more than anyone else in this nation over the last three years. However criticising and lambasting the government alone will not help and it certainly has not achieved much in the last three years because nothing has changed.
We must change tactics in order to achieve better results and whilst we ought to continue to urge and demand that the President and our security agencies must do his job properly and provide the necessary security for our people we also need to understand that this matter goes beyond politics. It goes beyond whether you are for or against the President. It goes beyond whether you are in the APC, PDP, APGA, Labour or UPN. It goes beyond whether you are a progressive or a conservative. It goes whether you are a christian or muslim or whether you are from the north or the south.
Regardless of wherever you are from, whatever your faith is or whichever side of the political divide we stand, we all have a duty to get to the bottom of the matter and find out what is really going on. We must join hands with all men and women of goodwill and together we must fight this insidious evil.
To be sure there is only one thing worse than failing to protect your people and that is when you organise people to use religion as a political tool and you kill, abduct and maim them in an attempt to change the status qou, pull down the government and cow the Nigerian people into submission. That is what those that are the secret supporters and sponsors of Boko Haram are doing.
What is going on is bloody, vicious, heartless, brutal, deep, dark and sinister and it is a conspiracy of monumental proportions. It is a conspiracy which we have all fallen victim to. It is a conspiracy that is fuelled by secrecy and strengthened by the reluctance of those that know better and that know the truth to speak out and expose it. These are the times that we are living in and it is very painful for us all.
It is left for the President and his team to rise up to the occassion, tell the Nigerian the bitter truth about all that is going on behind the scenes, remove the kid gloves, get real and fight the Haramists and their sponsors with all he has got.
If he refuses to do this or if he is cowered into not doing so by the moderate and dovish voices that appear to be around him, he can be rest assured that sooner than later this country will break up and he will go down in history as the last President of a united Nigeria. Worse still if he is not careful there may be a military coup which will not be welcome and which no-one wants.
I have little doubt that the President knows who those that are behind Boko Haram are: it is now time for him to exercise his full powers, expose them and deal with them in a brutal and savage manner.
It is time for him to lead us into war this war against terror and to be a Commander-in Chief that we can all be proud of. It is time for him to lock up and interrogate all those that he suspects may be linked to the terrorists. It is time for him to rise up and crush the evil and the forces of darkness.
It is time for him to use every method known to man to fight the insurgency, including better intelligence gathering and the usage of ”black ops”, ”wet boys”, covert operations and maximum co-operation with various foreign and international intelligence and security agencies. It is time for him to ruthlessly bomb the notorious and Boko-infested Sambisi forest with nepam and burn it, together with everything and everyone that is in it, to the ground. It is time for him to exercise the right of ”hot pursuit” and to pursue the Haramites into the Camerouns, Chad and the Niger Republic if and whenever it is necessary for him to ever do so.
It is time for him to prove to the world that the Nigerian people are not insensitive cowards and that we know how to fight and to protect our own. It is time for him to rise up and to exercise the full powers and authority of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is time for him to do whatever it takes to bring our girls back home and to let us hold our heads up high again.
Permit me to end this contribution with an instresting exchange that I had with one Sheriff Muhammed Ibrahim Almujahir, who is apparantly a lecturer at the Yobe State University and who appears to have been offended at the fact that I pointed out that 90 per cent of the abducted girls were christians. He wrote the following to me:
”Chief Femi Fani-Kayode I am so indebted to respect you but we from Borno don't want to hear people of your likes addressing this issue and turning it to look religious. We don't mind whether these girls are Muslim or not and we are out to ask for their freedom which is definitely not in the hands of anybody other than Mr. President. Of course you are already aware that we are now about a year under the so called state of emergency.
Please do not be like other people of myopic minds that looks not above their heads. Please I beg you to desist from this as it will not help us to help your fellow Christians that we are leaving and facing this gorillas together. Be mindful that your few words from Abuja can turn us ablaze here in Borno and Yobe. Therefore I call on you that if you can't join our cause in fighting our enemy then please leave us alone.
My brother was shot dead: is he a Christian? My neighbour was amongst the people that lost their lives last Thursday at Benisheikh: was he a Christian? Our houses burnt to ashes: are they churches? Even the Ministry for Religious Affairs and Pilgrims Services Board was set ablaze: are they temples?”
Despite his rather poor english I understood Mr. Almujahir's point and my response to him was as follows: ”Mr. Sheriff Muhammed Ibrahim Almujahir, if you honestly don't believe that this whole thing is religious then you are far more ignorant than you sound. An islamist rebellion is in full swing and these people are self-confessed muslim fundamentalists and you tell us it is not religious? Please stop this nonsense.
Stop being so deceitful and disingenious. You, your governor and your people have questions to answer when it comes to the issue of these abducted girls. Answer them rather than coming here to pontificate or to tell me what I should or should not say. Whether you like it or not we will expose all the relevant facts and allow people to make their own deductions.
The fact that these children are predominantly christians and that they had the misfortune of being born in Borno state, which is a predominantly muslim state, does not mean that we should sit by idly and say nothing when they are being targetted simply because of their faith. This is not a Borno problem but a national and international problem and we will make our contribution to the debate whether you and your people like it or not.
If you insist on offering advice go and give it to your fellow Haramites who are busy slaughtering innocent people and abducting little girls from their homes and schools. I would be far more impressed if you would do that rather than come here to be acting as if you don't know the truth and that you don't know what is going on.
No matter what insults, threats and provocations you and your ilk throw my way I will continue to speak the truth and expose the facts. I am sickened by what is going on and you should be too”. Let us hope that Mr. Almujahir and those that think like him understand the point get the message. May God be with us all.